The Full Wiki

Woolston, Hampshire: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


(Redirected to Woolston, Southampton article)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Coordinates: 50°53′35″N 1°22′35″W / 50.8931°N 1.3765°W / 50.8931; -1.3765

Woolston is located in Southampton

 Woolston shown within Southampton
Unitary authority Southampton
Ceremonial county Hampshire
Region South East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district SO19
Dialling code 023
Police Hampshire
Fire Hampshire
Ambulance South Central
EU Parliament South East England
UK Parliament Southampton Itchen
List of places: UK • England • Hampshire

Woolston is a suburb of Southampton, Hampshire, located on the eastern bank of the River Itchen. It is bounded by the River Itchen, Hampshire, Sholing, Peartree Green, Itchen and Weston. Its boundary with Weston is the stream that runs through Mayfield Park.

The area is rich in maritime and aviation history. The ancient hamlet had grown as new industries, roads and railways came to the area in the Victorian era. The Borough of Southampton attempted to annex Woolston in 1895, but this was rejected at a public inquiry[1] and it remained part of the Itchen Urban District Council[1]. But that was only a temporary reprieve. Woolston was formally incorporated into the borough of Southampton in 1920[2].

Development of the Itchen Bridge in the 1970s caused some additional significant changes.

In the early part of the 21st century, Woolston is again experiencing a period of major change.




Early history

Woolston is believed to originate from Olafs tun[1], a fortified tun on the East bank of the River Itchen established by the Viking leader Olaf I of Norway in the 10th Century. The small hill in the area surrounding modern day Defender Road conveniently overlooks the Saxon port of Hamwic[3]. This area would thus have been a good strategic location for the Vikings in 994 AD, when they were known to have camped in the Itchen area.[1]


In the Domesday Book of 1086, the area is recorded as Olvestune.[1] Medieval trade in Southampton included the export of wool produced across a large part of Southern England[4]. The "Wool House" still survives in Southampton[4] and was very accessible via the crossing of the River Itchen, Hampshire from Itchen Ferry village. With the next available crossing of the River Itchen, Hampshire several miles upstream at Mansbridge[4], the area now known as Woolston is certain to have received consignments of wool to be ferried across the River Itchen, Hampshire by the inhabitants of Itchen Ferry village. The evolution of Olvestune into "Woolston" is a result of that trade.


In 1424, Richard Inkpen conveyed an estate on the east bank of the River Itchen, Hampshire to his daughter Alice, wife of Richard Chamberlayne [1]. At least part of that estate was to return to the Chamberlayne name in the late 18th Century[1].

In 1536, Niccolo de Marini de Egra, a Genoese merchant, is recorded as purchasing the Manor of Woolston[4].

In 1631, Sir George Rivers conveyed 340 acres (1.4 km2) of land and the rights to the passage over the river Itchen to Nathaniel Mills[1]. This transaction appears to have been Woolston Manor. The rights to the passage over the River Itchen, was owned by the Lords of the Manors of Southampton and Woolston[1], but those rights were exercised by the fishermen of Itchen Ferry village who paid for that privilege in cash[1], providing a useful income for the Lord of the Manor.

In 1781, William Chamberlayne inherited the estates owned by Thomas Dummer, of Woolston House[1]. In 1802 his son, William Chamberlayne (MP) established the Weston Grove Estate[1] on land neighbouring Woolston.

The Dummer/Chamberlayne estate covered a large area, extending as far as Netley and including Netley Abbey. On 3 January 1856[5], Thomas Chamberlayne sold land that was used to develop the Royal Victoria Military Hospital. Workers from Woolston were used to help with its construction[6][7]. The Hospital was subsequently a significant customer for the traders of Woolston[8].


An Ordnance Survey map (NC/03/17894), shows that a shipbuilding yard existed in Woolston in 1870.[1]

In 1876, Thomas Ridley Oswald, a shipbuilder from Sunderland, closed his yard on the River Wear due to financial difficulties and opened a new shipyard on the banks of the River Itchen, Hampshire at Woolston[4][9]. In 1878 he formed a partnership with John Henry Mordaunt of Warwick, changing the name of the business to Oswald Mordaunt and Company [4].

Between 1876 and 1889 the yard launched over 100 ships[4]. Despite that success, the Woolston yard also experienced some financial difficulties. In 1881 an official receiver was appointed to manage the company[4]. Shipbuilding continued at the yard for a few years, but in 1889, Oswald Mordaunt and Company sought a new yard in South Wales and closed the yard in Woolston[4].

William Becket-Hill, who had been managing the yard as official receiver since 1886[4] soon formed a new consortium and shipbuilding resumed as the Southampton Naval Works under the management of J. Harvard Biles[4], a naval architect from the Clyde subsequently to become the first Professor of Naval Architecture at the University of Glasgow[4]. The Southampton Naval Works built eighteen ships, but that business also experienced financial problems and went into receivership in 1893[4].

The yard was then idle until the yacht building firm, J.G. Fay and Co of Northam, Southampton, expanded their business and took over the Woolston yard in 1897[4]. That venture was also financially unsuccessful[4], so J.G. Fay and Co sought joint ownership with Mordey Carney and Co. in 1899[4].

VTGroup Woolston

In June 1904 John I. Thornycroft & Company relocated to Woolston from Chiswick where it acquired the shipyard from Mordey Carney and Co.[4].

In 1966 John I. Thornycroft & Company merged with Vosper & Co. to form Vosper Thornycroft. The various shipbuilding companies on this Victoria Road site were thus the major employer in Woolston until 31 March 2004 when Vosper Thorneycroft vacated the site having relocated its operations to Portsmouth.

The other major employer in Woolston, from 1913 to 1960, was Supermarine. This company built seaplanes on its Hazel Road site that were ultimately successful in the Schneider trophy. Those seaplanes were further developed by R. J. Mitchell to create the iconic Supermarine Spitfire. Alongisde its simpler and more numerous counterpart, the Hawker Hurricane, the Spitfire played an important part in World War II and the Battle of Britain. This, unfortunately, made Woolston an important target for the Luftwaffe.

The Sopwith Aviation Company opened a small factory in Woolston in 1914[10], building seaplanes for the Admiralty during World War I.

The Royal Navy also had a large building situated between Archery Road and the waterfront[11] which they used as stores. Originally built in 1917 by the Ministry of Munitions as Rolling Mills for the production of brass strip for shell cases, this building is often thought of and referred to as being within Woolston but it was actually in the neighbouring district of Weston[1][4]. It was built immediately behind Weston Grove House [1] on land that was originally part of the Weston Grove estate [12].

Situated slightly to the north of Woolston railway station was a small goods yard [13], accessible from Bridge Road. This yard was a busy place until it closed in November 1967[13].

The Hazel Road area of modern Woolston still has some industrial activity, including the Jubilee Sailing Trust.

Ironically, the only industry left in Victoria Road, now that Vosper Thorneycroft have closed, is the sewage treatment plant operated by Southern Water.


With a major shipbuilding yard situated just a short distance downstream from the Supermarine factory, Woolston attracted much unwanted attention from the Luftwaffe during World War II. This bombing did much damage in Woolston and completely destroyed the Supermarine factory and the neighbouring Itchen Ferry village on 26 September 1940[2], but it did not stop production of the Spitfire which had been safely dispersed around the country.

In 1943, the Admiralty requisitioned the bombed-out remains of the Supermarine factory to provide a base for the planning of PLUTO[14], an undersea pipeline which supplied the invasion forces after D-Day[14]. This base was known as HMS Abatos[14].

On 17 August 1943 military restrictions were introduced to facilitate a "military exercise" prior to the invasion of Europe and D-Day in 1944[15]. The southern parts of Woolston were explicitly listed by the Chief Constable (6 August 1943) as one of the areas that would be affected by the exercise[15]. The exercise named Harlequin tested the port of Southampton's capacity for embarking troops and equipment[15]. For the next 9 months Woolston saw a great deal of military activity. It became part of the huge military camp that was established in Hampshire, known as Area C, specifically part of embarkation area C5[14].

The ruins around Itchen Ferry village were used for training troops that would be fighting in similar conditions on mainland Europe[15].

Woolston was also situated within Regulated Area (No 2) established 31 March 1944[15], which placed restrictions on the movement of people in the final build-up to D-Day[15].

Other history

The Obelisk in Mayfield Park

In 1762, Walter Taylor built a water-powered wood-working mill on the stream that runs through what is now Mayfield Park[16].

Granville Augustus William Waldegrave (1833-1913), 3rd Lord Radstock and his heirs previously owned the Mayfield estate in Woolston[16].

Mayfield Park contains a monument to Whig politician Charles James Fox[16]. That Obelisk has given its name to a local street and a public house in Woolston.

Sir Thomas Longmore, Professor of Military surgery at the Royal Victoria Military Hospital had a house in Woolston[8]

Amelia Earheart, the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic came ashore at Woolston on June 19, 1928[17].

The worlds first international flying boat service from Woolston to Le Havre was introduced by Supermarine in 1919[2].

HMS Woolston (1918), was a W Class escort destroyer, built towards the end of World War I[18], which saw action on escort duties in World War II. It was scrapped in 1947.

In 1928 Oliver Simmonds formed the Simmonds Aircraft Co.Ltd and produced the Simmonds Spartan aircraft. The prototype was built in his house in Woolston, the first production model was assembled at the Royal Navy Rolling Mills building, off Archery Rd in Woolston [19].

Lost streets and buildings

Lost streets/buildings in area of Itchen Bridge
Street or Area Building Dates shown
Oakbank Road Oddfellows Hall[13] 1881, 1897
Ebenezeer Hall[13] 1933
Employment Exchange[13] 1933
Roselands [13] 1881, 1897
Woolston Lawn[13] 1881,1897

Late 19th century maps show that on the southern side of Woolston railway station, in the area bounded by Manor Road, Portsmouth Road and Bridge Road, there were areas known as Woolston Lawn and Roselands[13]. An 1881 map shows that Roselands also extended to the east of Manor Road[13] but by 1897, the eastern portion of that estate had been developed, including a Masonic Hall[13]. The 1897 map also shows that there was a fountain[13] in Roselands. Whilst those maps do not explicitly describe Roselands as being the Manor House, the opulence of Roselands and the presence of the Masonic Hall indicate that it was an affluent area at the end of the 19th century. The name Manor Road also suggests that the Manor House was situated somewhere in this area. The 19th century maps also show that Woolston Lawn adjoined a Vicarage[13], literally within sight of another Vicarage located in neighbouring Itchen Ferry village[13]. Upper Vicarage Road and Lower Vicarage Road seem to have taken their names from those two buildings. Much of this area now lies beneath the Itchen Bridge, its toll booths and control room, though some were destroyed during World War II

Ordnance Survey map NC/0317894 of 1870 shows Woolston House at the top of what is now St. Annes Road, at its junction with Portsmouth Road[1]. This building was situated directly opposite what is now the Conservative Club. The same map shows Woolston Coastguard Station in what is now Glen Road[1].

Changes to street names

Current name Previous name
Bishops Road High Street
Florence Road Alma Road
Glen Road Grove Road
Hazel Road Elm Road
Keswick Road Albert Road
Laurel Road Ivy Road
Poole Road Brook Road
Radstock Road Avenue Road
Sea Road Hill Street
St Annes Road Milton Road
Swift Road Onslow Road
Tankerville Road Britannia Road
Walpole Road Avenue Road
Wharncliffe Road Cliff Road

When Woolston was absorbed into Southampton in 1920[2], there were some duplicated street names. Several street names in Woolston (and Itchen) were changed in 1924 [1] to avoid the consequential confusion. These changes explain some local peculiarities, such as the naming of Milton House in St. Annes Road (previously Milton Road).


Prior to 1920, Woolston was part of the Itchen Urban District, from 1920 becoming part of the City of Southampton.

The area is within the Woolston ward which also includes the neighbouring Weston. The ward currently has three Labour councillors: Carol Cunio; Warwick Payne and Richard Williams.[20] These councillors represent the area in Southampton City Council, Southampton is a unitary authority.

The Woolston ward is within the Southampton Itchen parliamentary constituency, represented in the House of Commons by John Denham of the Labour Party since 1992.

The area is represented in the European Parliament within the South East England constituency.


Woolston is bounded by Sholing, Peartree Green and Weston; with the western boundary as the River Itchen. Its boundary with Weston is the stream that runs through Mayfield Park.

The nearest motorway is the M27, particularly Junctions 7 and 8.



The Vosper Thorneycroft shipbuilding company was the major employer in Woolston until 31 March 2004 when Vosper Thorneycroft relocated its operations to Portsmouth. A large new Co-op was built on Victoria road. Woolston's Main high street (Victoria Road) Previously had many businesses and shops. But the current economic climate in the UK hit it hard and many of the shops disappearing and on the 30th December 2008, Woolworths closed, and Adams, the children's clothing retailer soon followed.


The Woolston Millennium Garden was created for the residents by a local group who wanted to give something back to the area and inject some pride into the area. It features a huge feather which can be seen as you are walking into Woolston via the Itchen Bridge.


Woolston railway station

Woolston railway station, situated at the end of the Itchen Bridge, is served by South West Trains services, located on the West Coastway Line. The line through Woolston was opened on 5 March 1866[13] to serve the Royal Victoria Military Hospital at Netley, where it originally terminated. The line was extended to Fareham on 2 September 1889[13], whereupon it became possible to run through trains to Portsmouth via a separate line that had been built to link Eastleigh and Gosport in 1841[13].

The Itchen Bridge

The Itchen Bridge is a toll bridge that crosses the River Itchen, from Woolston to the Chapel area of Southampton near Ocean Village and St. Mary's Stadium. The bridge was opened to traffic on 1 June 1977 and formally named on 13 June 1977 by Princess Alexandra.[21]. Costing £5.7 million, the high-level concrete bridge spans 107 m between its central pillars and carries two lanes of traffic at a height of 24 m above the river, allowing large vessels to proceed further upstream to the wharves and quays in Northam. Tolls are charged for vehicles crossing the bridge, toll booths and a control room are situated at the Woolston end, however pedestrians and cyclists travel free. Nearly 600,000 vehicles a month use the bridge to cross the river. This is considerably more than were ever accommodated on the Woolston Floating Bridge, a cable ferry which served Woolston for 141 years.


Woolston School, October 2007.

St. Mark's Infants school in Church Road, moved to new premises in Florence Road in 1974, becoming Woolston First School and more recently Woolston Infant School. The original school building is now Woolston Community Centre.

There was debate about moving Woolston School, the secondary school, to a neighbouring site on Inkerman Road [22]. Both the Florence Road and Inkerman Road sites had sustained bomb damage in World War II and were available for redevelopment. Apart from two Nissen huts which stood there until the late 1970s, the Inkerman Road site was awaiting redevelopment. Demolition of a large number of houses to make way for the Itchen Bridge altered the demography of the area. Inkerman Road was no longer such an obvious site for a school after the development of the Itchen Bridge.

Woolston School thus stayed where it was in Porchester Road, operating an annex in the old school building on Peartree Green, another nearby in Portsmouth Road (Mayfield House) and a dining room in Porchester Road. With major developments in the 1990s, all facilities were finally relocated to the Porchester Road site. The school subsequently achieved Language College status and a multi-million pound expenditure on the site.

In 2006, proposals were made to merge Woolston School with Grove Park Business and Enterprise College, to use only the Grove site. This decision was very controversial[23] however in July 2007 it was confirmed the school would be closed in August 2008[24]. There are now no secondary schools in Woolston, although until new buildings are finished at Oasis Academy Mayfield the site is being used for Key Stage 4.

Religious sites

Sports and leisure

Mayfield Park is a partially wooded, partially open recreational area situated between Woolston and Weston.

The Archery Grounds, bounded by Swift Road and Archery Road, adjoin Mayfield Park

Public services

Notable people

Jack Ayles b 1930 Ringwood, Hampshire, UK. Lived in Swift Road, Woolston, SO19 9ES, 1937-1965. Educated: Woolston Vicarage School (Woolston Grammer School) and Taunton's School, Southampton. Batchelor of Arts, Chartered Engineer (CEng), Chartered Electrical Engineer (FIEE),Chartered Marine Engineer (FIMarE), Fellow Institute of Marine Engineering Science and Technology,(FIMarEST), Companion, The Nautical Institute (Companion NI)(Retired), Member , The Royal Institute of Navigation (MRIN) (Retired). Elected an Honorary Vice-President of Tha Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology, 2007. Founder Chairman, The Open University Student Association National Executive Committee, Chairman, Open University north-west Regional Advisory Council, Chairman, Mersey & North Wales Open University Student Association' Liveryman, The Welsh Livery Guild.


Development of the Itchen Bridge caused many changes in Woolston. Old terraces were demolished to make room for the new structure. The bus station that served passengers boarding and departing the Woolston ferry was no longer required, so it was demolished and many new townhouses were built in that area. Similarly, the fire station in Portsmouth Road was no longer required once the Itchen Bridge provided easy access for the fire crews at St Mary's on the Southampton side of the river. That old building is now a Doctors surgery.

St Mary's Presbyterian Church in Portsmouth Road was demolished in 1972[25]. It was replaced by a supermarket, demand for which subsequently declined due to the development of a Tesco Hypermarket at Bursledon and the demographic changes caused by the development of the Itchen Bridge. This new building has subsequently become a convenience store.

The shopping area centred around the Victoria Rd/Portsmouth Rd crossroads was bypassed by the Itchen Bridge, killing the trade that existed in the once bustling area by the Woolston Floating Bridge. This is the same economic process that affected Itchen Ferry village when the Floating Bridge was first introduced. Business has further declined recently, due to the relocation of Vosper Thorneycroft.

But this is a transitory phase. The shipyard site was acquired by the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA) in March 2003[26] and finally vacated by Vosper Thorneycroft on 31 March 2004 [27].

The ward of Woolston is one of the 119 priority wards in the South East. SEEDA took the initiative of acquiring the site in March 2003 to ensure that its medium to longer term development potential is fully maximised for the benefit of the local business, residential, and wider Southampton communities.[26]

The South East England Development Agency have subsequently announced plans for the site, including a mixture of marine industry, offices and 1653 new homes. The Woolston Riverside development will include;

Feature Description
North Quay specialist working quay for repair and refit of vessels up to 75 m
Centenary Quay main commercial quayside housing vessels up to 76 m.
Central Basin working area focused around a large hoist dock or lift with associated pontoon berthing.
South Quay new pier to accommodate feature vessels up to 65 m.

The appointed architects are the Richard Rogers Partnership[28]

The appointed developers are Dean and Dyball[29], who will build the four hectares allocated for marine and commercial uses, and Crest Nicholson [30] who will develop the other 8.5 hectares for residential and retail purposes, under the brand name Centenary Quay.

There have been three quays identified on this stretch of the river. Centenary Quay is one of the original quays and to focus and strengthen the identity of the overall development, the name Centenary Quay has been suggested by all the partners as the residential/retail scheme's brand name.[31]

The imminent redevelopment of that large waterside site seems likely to rejuvenate the shopping area, but the redevelopment has also been predicted to place extra burden on the Itchen Bridge and cause extra congestion in Woolston[32]. Developers of the residential site are reported to be considering the possibility of re-introducing a ferry service to Southampton [33].

Houses have already been built on the land where the Royal Navy stores once stood. Clearing that brownfield site was a major exercise, complicated by old munitions, including Mustard Gas shells which had been buried in the ground and asbestos. The redevloped area is now in the district of Woolston [34]

Woolston is thus becoming more of a residential area, though it will still retain some marine industry with facilities to berth vessels of up to 76 m in length, including perhaps Tall ships[35].



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u Brown, Jim (September 2004). The Illustrated history of Southampton's Suburbs. Breedon Books Publishing Co Ltd. ISBN 1-85983-405-1.  
  2. ^ a b c d e Wyeth-Gadd, Eric (1979). Southampton in the twenties. ISBN 0-86146-003.  
  3. ^ Ordnance Survey maps
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Rance, Adrian. Southampton. An Illustrated History. ISBN 0-903852-95-0.  
  5. ^ Fairman, J.R. (1984). Netley Hospital and its Railways. p. 7. ISBN 0-946184-09-7.  
  6. ^ Fairman, J.R. (1984). Netley Hospital and its Railways. p. 15. ISBN 0-946184-09-7.  
  7. ^ Hampshire Independent, 1st December 1860
  8. ^ a b Hoare, Philip. Spike Island. ISBN 1-84115-294-3.  
  9. ^ Andover Advertiser, 17 Jun 2003
  10. ^ Hull, Norman. Flying Boats of the Solent. ISBN 1-85794-161-6.  
  11. ^ Images of Southampton. Southampton City Council. ISBN 1-873626-59-2.  
  12. ^ Rance, Adrian (1986). Southampton. An Illustrated History. p. 137. ISBN 0-903852-95-0.  
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Mitchell, Vic; Smith, Keith. South Coast Railways - Portsmouth to Southampton. ISBN 0-906520-31-2.  
  14. ^ a b c d Doughty, Martin. Hampshire and D-Day. ISBN 1-85741-047-5.  
  15. ^ a b c d e f Peckham, Ingrid (1994). Southampton and D-Day. ISBN 1-872649-04-1.  
  16. ^ a b c Southampton City Council, Mayfield Park leaflet
  17. ^ Southampton. A pictorial peep into the past, Southern Newspapers Ltd. 1980
  18. ^ Illustrated London News, July 19th 1919
  19. ^ AVIATION IN HAMPSHIRE UK 1900 to 2000(and beyond) website
  20. ^ Find your local Councillor
  21. ^ Southampton Echo, 13th June 1977
  22. ^ Hampshire County Council, Roads & Development Sub-committee 13 April 1992
  23. ^ "Another schools protest is at the door, councillors". The Southern Daily Echo (Newsquest Media Group). 10:07am Thursday 8th June 2006. Retrieved 2009-01-02.  
  24. ^ "Four schools will be axed". The Southern Daily Echo (Newsquest Media Group). 4:08pm Tuesday 3rd July 2007. Retrieved 2009-01-02.  
  25. ^ Southampton. A pictorial peep into the past, Southern Newspapers Ltd, 1980
  26. ^ a b SEEDA Board meeting, 22 January 2004
  27. ^ South East England Development Agency, press notice 31st March 2004
  28. ^ SEEDA press release 15 October 2003
  29. ^ SEEDA press release 24 March 2006
  30. ^ SEEDA press release 15th March 2006
  31. ^ Crest Nicholson, Woolston Riverside website
  32. ^ Southampton Daily Echo, 19 April 2008
  33. ^ Southampton Daily Echo. 19 April 2008
  34. ^ Southampton City Council. Southampton Online. Southampton Property search
  35. ^ Crest Nicholson, Woolston riverside website


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address